Danger Turtle Says: THANKS FOR 100,000 HITS!

Danger Turtle, Motherfucker.

A Mile Underground and a Boat Ride from Hell – Welcome to the Echo Bazaar

The year is 1889. Three decades ago, London was stolen. The Who, Why and How of it are mysteries – and these days only revolutionaries and anarchists say ‘stolen’ any more. The sun is gone and the city is lit only by glowing fungus, bioluminescent insects and by the gas-light of Mr. Fires.

 But Londoners can get used to anything. It’s quiet down here with the devils and the darkness and the mushroom wine. And a fantastic Bazaar has sprung up in the middle of Fallen London where anything can be bought or sold if you know what to ask for. Hell has established an embassy. Death isn’t so bad after all.

 The Bazaar is located at the heart of Fallen London, in the Neath, a cavern of impossible size, by the Unterzee, a tremendous saltwater lake. They say it’s the skull of some defunct pagan god. That doesn’t sound very likely. Although it would explain the dreams.

 Echo Bazaar is a browser-based text adventure game by Failbetter Games You have a limited set of actions you can take right now (10), and a limited amount of total actions per day (70). Once you use an action, you’ll get another in 7 minutes, and another 7 minutes after that, until you’re back to ten, or you use all your actions for the day. Like many such games, you use your actions to undertake challenges and grind your statistics. With each challenge, you learn more about the world of Echo Bazaar.

You start out as a Mysterious Stranger being held in New Newgate Prison. Right from the get-go Echo Bazaar allows you to determine how you escape and as the game progresses you’ll have the opportunity to decide who you were before your capture.

The game is loaded with ‘storylets‘, short narratives that drip-feed you a little more of the Neath with each click. Storylets generally involve one or more steps, each of which usually offers at least two ways of doing things and allows you to tailor your experience to play to your stronger Qualities (which determine how Dangerous, Watchful, Persuasive and Shadowy you are). There’s no combat in the traditional sense – you will be told how difficult the challenge is relative to your Quality level, and if you decide to give it a whirl, the game makes some behind-the-scenes calculations and tells you the result.

Choose - but choose wisely.

For example, you decide to explore a storylet in which local police want you to learn more about the activities of a Person of Interest. You have two choices: you can follow them around and observe their activities (a Watchful-based challenge), or you can try breaking into their apartment (a Shadowy challenge). Attempting a challenge always increases the associated skill, even if you fail. In many cases, you can re-try the challenge (at the cost of an action).

On top of that, there’s also a deck of Opportunity Cards, which provide diversions, developments and plot twists to improve your Qualities or expand your story.

So what’s the point? Well, there’s no single over-arching storyline that everyone has to work through. But there are several longer plot lines that you can work through. Maybe you’ll try to track down the people who killed your lover. Maybe you’ll gamble your soul against the Devil. Or maybe you’ll just spend some time exploring Fallen London and experiencing the cool lore. It doesn’t really feel like a game that’s about winning or losing – consider this blurb regarding death:

Death in the Fifth City isn’t necessarily the end. If you’re stabbed or shot, someone may come along and sew you back together soon enough. If you’re drowned, you’ll wake with a hangover. If you die of old age or disease, or if you’re hacked to pieces, it’s a more serious matter. But in any case, once you die and return to life down here, you’ll never be permitted to return to the surface…unless you’re one of the few who find a way to immortality.

Consider my current game: I play the part of Mr. Ricochet, a Watchful and Persuasive gentleman who left a string of broken hearts on the surface when he came to the Neath. He is recently escaped from New Newgate Prison and his ambition is to win the infamous card game known as Heart’s Desire – but first he has to find somewhere to play it. In spite of himself, he is falling for a young model and is trying to determine the best way to make his feelings known. He lives in the guest-room of a modest dwelling belonging to a kind-hearted widow in Ladybones Road, and is currently investigating the suspicious activities of a struggling poet. He is also nursing a couple of nasty injuries suffered during his participation in last week’s mushroom forest race. Oh, and the nightmares are starting to get pretty bad.

Sign up requires a Twitter or Facebook account (and you can link them if you have both). While that might get some people’s hackles up, it’s worth noting that you don’t actually have to use your social media in the game. If you wish, you can tweet or post some trivia from the game once per day to replenish your actions, but it’s not mandatory. On the other hand, you can invite people from your Friends Lists to join you for social activities that can help ease your character’s troubled mind or give them a hand with challenges.

Fallen London

Echo Bazaar offers strong and clever story-telling in a unique setting thick with flavour and atmosphere. The desire to know what happens next – and the feeling that you are in control – makes for a delightfully addictive experience. Check it out.

*Fist Pump*

Weekends are a special time, and everyone spends theirs a little differently. Here at O514, we spend many weekends watching movies, playing video games or gathered in someone’s living room for pen-and-paper RPGs.

These guys do something a little different with their down-time.

Blizzard: Soon Everyone Will Know The True Identity of Painface Hammersmite

Blizzard is making a stir again, but this time it’s not about charging $25 for an imaginary pony or the impending release of Starcraft II. The current stink is related to Blizzard’s announcement that posts made on their official forums will soon display users’ real names: 

… [I]n the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name — with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. The classic Battle.net forums, including those for Diablo II and Warcraft III, will be moving to a new legacy forum section with the release of the StarCraft II community site and at that time will also transition to using Real ID for posting.  

Why would Blizzard do this? Because their forums are legendary for being steaming cesspools of ignorance and stupidity. 

The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players — however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild. Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before. With this change, you’ll see blue posters (i.e. Blizzard employees) posting by their real first and last names on our forums as well.

It goes without saying that people feel strongly about this. Online privacy is kind of a big deal, and a lot of people have legitimate concerns over how RealID could impact their lives, both online and off.  

In response to early outrage and condemnation from the community, a well-meaning Blizzard Community Manager known as Bashiok decided to demonstrate that there was no danger associated with RealID by posting his real name on the forums. The result was both predictable and depressing. From the second link:  

Within minutes, we knew almost all the important [information about] his life: his phone number, address, age, etc. [as well as] the name of his wife, and the roommate in his home, [along with] school of his children. In addition, [thanks to Google Street View] some users published pictures of his house.

Since then, Bashiok’s thread has been deleted, along with his Twitter account and Facebook page. He’s changed or blocked his phone numbers, too. 

What do you think, dear readers? Accountability for one’s online behaviour is a laudable goal, but is Blizzard stepping into a quagmire? Could (should?) the company be held responsible if some fucking creep decides to mail a box of dead kittens to the guy who corpse-camped him outside of Shattrath for an hour?

Music is Everywhere

Meet Pogo, a native of Perth, Western Australia. Pogo likes to combine and remix clips and sound bites from movies into chilled-out new musical pieces.

Something like this has plenty of potential for epic failure, but Pogo’s pretty good at it:




For Mother’s Day, Pogo decided to leverage his skills into a unique gift:

I bet you just took your mom out for brunch.

Round-a-bound – now with 100% more sand art!

Saw this on Star Wars Day:

This lady must be lots of fun at the beach. Listen for Apocalyptica at around 3:30 and again later in the piece.

Blizzard’s $2 Million Sparklehorse

From 1up.com:

The Blizzard Pet Store is offering two new virtual pets to World of Warcraft players, one of which has generated over $2 million in sales in its first four hours.

The “Celestial Steed” [below] is, according to its description on the Blizzard Store, “freshly born from the Twisting Nether” and allows players to “travel in style astride wings of pure elemental stardust.” […]

The fancy horse costs $25 and offers no new abilities to players, only riding as fast as a character’s riding skill will enable it to go.

According to wow.com, the download queue as of 1:45 Pacific time [April 15] was at 80,000. At $25 a pop, this means that this noble steed has generated sales of $2 million since its debut at 9:30 the same morning, or around $500,000 an hour.

 

Five hundred grand an hour ain’t no thang.

Well, that certainly is something. 

Perhaps most interesting are reports of complaints that $25.00 is not enough, which will lead to the mount being “too common”.

Given the sales so far, it seems that Blizzard could have gotten away with charging much more.